We eat at a lot of fine dining places and the end results are generally very good. But they're a shit place to learn to cook. Highly dependant on multiple complex sauces that deliver complimentary flavours but generally centred around simple well cooked meat/fish/veg the head chef cooks. A sous chef at a michelin starred place could spend three years reducing sauces and putting microherbs on plates and not have a scooby how to boil an egg.
A proper Sous Chef would've worked his way up from being a Commis and learned the necessary skills. This "Fine Dining" lark all stems from basic cookery in the first place, the "Fine" part of it is all about tarting up 3 quid worth of produce and charging you £30 for it. When I was cooking on a professional basis, the "fine dining" was called "Nouvelle Cuisine", small portions of food costing a fortune, the only thing that's changed is the name.
Following on from the above conversation involving chefs today and their training, after watching the programme mentioned in the title, I can only assume that a lot of today's chefs aren't recieving training in the classics as the skills test seems to be lacking in any real skill. As @S11Blade states, they might not be able to boil an egg, why not, they are supposed to be trained chefs FFSIn general in London it isn't. It's very complex and uses a hell of a lot of quality ingredients and processes to produce the end result. However the skills involved for sous and commi tend to be niche to the needs of the head chef so it's not a great general training environment. Hence the dire performances on masterchef yesterday.
I've been watching the programme for the past few seasons and it seems skill fade has been apparent, one episode last week involved "spatchcocking" a quail, this involves cutting the backbone out and flatteniing it, not one got the "spatchcock" right, leaving the quail slightly undercooked in each case. Last night involved making a Crepe Souffle, the pancakes were as thick as Dianne Abbott and no one seemed to get the souffle side right either. These were basic culinary skills when I was training. It's all well and good being able to produce a £45 main course involving drizzles of herb oils and fusing 2 seperate styles of cuisine, but the basics need to be sorted first, you need to know your Espagnole or your Demi-Glace.